Networking Intermediaries and Competitive Enterprises in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (NICE-TAK)
First National Conference on Financial Inclusion in the Republic of Tajikistan
Dushanbe, 15th of August 2019
Despite the general progress achieved in the field of financial availability throughout the world, in Tajikistan this issue remains extremely relevant.
It is widely known that expanding access to financial services provides the public with great benefits. Financial services can improve the quality of life by providing the necessary financing for business activities. Reliable sources of financial services help plan and expand business activities, allow families to manage cash flow efficiently and reduce the need to sell assets during a crisis. Thanks to increased incomes and the ability to save and borrow, financial services provide low-income families with the opportunity to purchase land, build or improve their homes, buy livestock and durable goods, or expand their businesses. By placing their savings in a secure financial institution, families can safely store, increase, and use their assets. Financial services allow households to move from daily survival to planning. Heads of household plan their expenses on educating children, improving their living conditions, and paying for medical services as needed. Financial services provide entrepreneurs with the opportunity to create jobs. It also ensures that growing micro-enterprises provide an opportunity for others in the community to gain access to jobs.
Along with the fact that the microfinance industry was created in Central Asia 20 years ago, access to funding in two recent studies – the 2017 Business Perception Study in Tajikistan and the NICE-TAK 2017 study of the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises are still rated as top priority, problem among small and medium enterprises, and the general population. Moreover, a business perception study showed that 50.8% of women face barriers in accessing finance. The women interviewed mentioned several reasons, including a high interest rate on loans, unrealistic obligations to secure, difficulties in obtaining a loan without a credit history, as well as insufficient financial literacy and low entrepreneurial skills.
The purpose of the conference “First National Conference on Financial Inclusion in the Republic of Tajikistan” is to identify and explore innovations, innovative financial products and non-financial services that can facilitate access to finance for poor people, individual entrepreneurs and women, and increase their participation in the formal economy. In particular, the conference will consider the business case and the role of the private sector and financial investors who invest in sustainable and reliable products and services that can improve micro and small enterprises and public access to finance, especially those operating in remote areas. Its includes close attention to supply and demand issues that affect the use of traditional and alternative financial products and services, including those offered by microfinance organizations, credit associations, guarantee funds, etc.
The conference will also provide an opportunity for financial and other institutions to present their own products and services aimed at implementing a financial inclusion strategy; Moreover, those institutions that have implemented working methods aimed at ensuring financial inclusion at all levels of activity and management will be given the opportunity to demonstrate the best practices and lessons learned from this practice.
In May and June 2019, in order to ensure high-quality and efficient work of the Conference, in the framework of the NICE-TAK project, funded by the European Union with the co-financing of the Federal Ministry for Economic Development of Germany, round tables were held in the regions of Tajikistan (in Khujand, Rasht, Khorog and Bokhtar), as preparatory activities. In accordance with the topical issues presented, round tables were devoted to topics such as the development of women’s entrepreneurship, access to finance and financial literacy, alternative sources of financing, taxation, the use of ICT in remote areas, etc. The Association of Microfinance Organizations of Tajikistan (AMFOT), as a partner of this Project, helped to ensure the coverage and participation of representatives of the financial sector and other institutions, representatives of the National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT) and relevant ministries and departments at these events. AMFOT developed the protocols of the round tables and the results of the discussion of topics at the round tables will be ultimately presented at the Conference.
The conference will provide an effective platform for discussion and coordination. Representatives of local and international financial institutions, the National Bank of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Parliament, the Government, entrepreneurs, representatives of NGOs and business service providers, as well as representatives of the financial structures of Central Asia will attend it. In their presentations, conference participants will share their experience in expanding financial services, introducing innovations, improving services, and developing financial and non-financial products that meet business needs. It’s expected that the conference will develop proposals and recommendations that will support SME development, expand women’s entrepreneurship, introduce information and financial technologies, and improve the country’s legal base, which ultimately will lead to increased access to finance and financial inclusion in Tajikistan.
The First National Conference on Financial Inclusion in the Republic of Tajikistan was organized by AMFOT and NABWT as part of the implementation of the Nice-Tak project “Networking Intermediaries and Competitive Enterprises in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan”, which is implemented by an international consortium of non-governmental organizations CESVI (Italy), Bishkek Business Club (BDK), National Association of Small and Medium Business of Tajikistan (NAMSB), National Association of Business Women of Tajikistan (NABWT), Union of Craftsmen in Tajikistan (UCT). The consortium is headed by the non-governmental organization Sequa gGmbH (Germany). The NICE-TAK project is funded by the European Union with co-financing from the Federal Ministry for Economic Development of Germany. The conference partners are the European Bank for Development and Reconstruction, GIZ.
The conference is directly supported by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Tajikistan, the National Bank of the Republic of Tajikistan, the State Committee on Investments and State Property Management of the Republic of Tajikistan